102120_MNS_early_voting_009 poll workers and volunteers and voters

Front from left, poll workers and volunteers help two men check in at Chastain Park’s gym in Buckhead Oct. 12 during the first day of Fulton County early voting for the Nov. 3 general election.

As Fulton County hosts early voting for the Nov. 3 general election, the county’s department of registration and elections Oct. 15 announced that 13 of the 60 employees working in Fulton’s election preparation center have tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a news release, after two initial employee cases were reported earlier in the week, all warehouse staff were tested and 11 more cases were identified. The department is coordinating with the Fulton Board of Health and department of real estate and asset management to implement stronger mitigation efforts and ongoing monitoring.

“Daily rapid testing will be implemented for all employees at the time they report to work,” the release stated. “Additional staff are being recruited to continue warehouse operations.”

The warehouse has been treated with a germicidal barrier, and more ventilation and proactive environmental measures have been installed. An alternate work space is being identified to permit operations to continue with more social distancing.

According to the release, none of the affected workers have contact with voters. At this time, no COVID-19 cases have been reported among workers at early voting sites. All poll workers are required to wear masks, social distancing is in place and hand sanitizer is provided for all election employees and the public.

The positive tests announcement comes three days after early voting began in Fulton at 30 precincts plus seven outreach sites and two mobile locations. Voters experienced waits of at least three hours at some locations. Some precincts also had problems that delayed voting, including the State Farm Arena mega site in downtown Atlanta, where a poll pad issue caused delays to start the day.

Early voting ends Oct. 30 and residents can cast ballots at any early voting poll location. On Election Day, though, they must vote at their own designated precinct.

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